Arriving at Building Bridges for a scheduled session, I was greeted by EAT Professionals Don (as a fellow paratrooper there was an instant bond); and Deb who has the most welcoming smile.
When I met Lovey and Bonnie I was overcome with a rush of emotions that I have never felt. Standing next to 1,000 lb beautiful thoroughbred horses I felt very powerless and scared. That week I practiced being aware of my surroundings but not fixated on them; I experienced how the horses can feel my tension and emotions and how quickly they changed when I did.
I joined the Army at 26 years old in November, 2006. The military changed my life. Being a part of the 82nd Airborne Division was everything that I needed physically, mentally, emotionally.
When I was injured I pushed myself through the pain running 12 miles every morning and rucking 12 miles in air assault school with 35 lbs on my back. Steroid injections and nerve ablations couldn’t even begin to have time to work because I was full throttled in everything I applied myself too. So did these horses. At one time ribbons hung around their necks, the accolades lasted only a few years and then they no longer matter. I feel the same way in the civilian world. My DD-214 speaks volumes to the Staff Sargent I once was, yet my awards and medals mean little if anything—and everything that I had sacrificed to earn that rank seemed in vain. The BBF sessions have a powerful impact on my thinking and my soul. I struggled with addiction, thoughts of suicide, isolation, manic depression, high anxiety and I believe at one point I was truly not in control of my mind. I Thank God I am no longer that person.
At Building Bridges I feel at peace and safe and very welcomed and cared about; there are no note pads recording my thoughts or computers being typed on holding me accountable in the future for anything I might say. This is healing.